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Hard Contract (1969)

 -  Drama | Mystery  -  23 June 1969 (Sweden)
6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 305 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 8 critic

A cold hearted American hit man goes to Europe for 'one last score'. His encounter with a beautiful young woman casts self doubt on his lifeblood, and influences him to resist carrying out the contract

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Title: Hard Contract (1969)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Patrick Magee ...
Alexi
...
Michael Carlson
Claude Dauphin ...
Maurice
Helen Cherry ...
Evelyn Carlson
...
Ellen
Sabine Sun ...
Belgian Prostitute
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Storyline

A cold hearted American hit man goes to Europe for 'one last score'. His encounter with a beautiful young woman casts self doubt on his lifeblood, and influences him to resist carrying out the contract

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

We all know that evil can look good and feel good. But did you ever think that evil might be good? See more »

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

23 June 1969 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Antes amar... después matar  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the only cinema film to be directed by S. Lee Pogostin, a well-known television writer. James Coburn later claimed in interviews that Pogostin was the cause of the film's considerable box-office failure, as he had refused to alter his extremely wordy script and then proved to have little idea of how to direct a film. According to Coburn, the actors more or less directed themselves whilst cameraman Jack Hildyard handled the technical details. See more »

Quotes

John Cunningham: Murder is obsolete.
Ramsey Williams: I'm an old-fashioned man and I prefer and old-fanshioned contract. Get back to me when death is obsolete.
John Cunningham: It is obsolete! It's all obsolete! How do you think bitching became so big?
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Murky
28 July 2013 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

A professional hit-man is sent on a mission to Europe, but gets involved with a bubbly sexpot despite his strict code of self-discipline.

Disappointing melodrama that doesn't come off despite a sterling cast. There's a delightfully sexy Remick, a charmingly continental Palmer, a mysteriously wacky Meredith, and an imposingly sinister Hayden. Plus, starring in the central role, a wordlessly stone-faced Coburn. But despite this line-up, the screenplay is both over-long and needlessly elusive.

The key to the murky story, I'm guessing, is that the movie was made in the late 60's, during the 'Make love, not war' period. What writer-director Pogostin appears aiming at is a movie that applies the motto to a professional killer, of all things. At least, this is the narrative's trajectory even though the details are too often elusive. Much of the obscure philosophical palaver appears to concern just how wrong professional hits are in an era of mass political killing. It also serves, I think, to soften Cunningham's going unpunished despite his bloody record. Note too, how little attention is given to Cunningham's two professional hits, as if they're merely incidental to the overall story.

Whatever the narrative shortcomings, we get a pretty good travelogue of Western Europe as background. In fact, it appears Pogostin never shot in the same spot twice, which means the camera jumps around a lot adding to the feeling of a disjointed narrative. One way or the other, the movie's amounts to a disappointment given the talent involved. My advice is to catch up with a tight little b&w gem from 1958, Murder by Contract, which shows how the material should be done.


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